Image of two pages of Gurney's book: Brachygraphy

The Dickens Code

The Dickens Code

Shorthand was an important part of Dickens's toolkit as a writer, but although he used it extensively for parliamentary reporting, letter writing, and note taking, little is known about how he did so. The unique system that he developed, based upon Gurney's Brachygraphy, is complex and puzzling; Dickens himself called it a 'savage stenographic mystery'.

The mystery of these undeciphered texts is as compelling for the public as it is for academics and the sesquicentenary of Dickens's death in 2020 provides an ideal opportunity to harness wider interest in solving the 'Dickens Code'.

'The Dickens Code' project begins in March 2021. It is led by Dr Claire Wood (University of Leicester) in collaboration with Professor Hugo Bowles (University of Foggia) and a range of partners. The Dickens Code was awarded ‘Research Project of the Year: Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences’ in the Times Higher Education Awards 2022.

To find out more and for additional updates and resources please visit Dickens Code.

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